Hello everybody hope you are all well and earning enough.
As you will all probably aware Big George Webley passed away at the weekend and has left a great hole in the working lives of an awful lot of night time workers. I was one of hundreds of cabbies that used to tune in nightly whilst working and I would never get tired of BG’s show. I’d get angry,informed,upset,amazed,frustrated,pi%^ed off but never bored!
I could never get over the wealth of information that George kept in his head, he could hold an informed conversation on subjects as far apart as marine wildlife and who drew which character in Walt Disney movies.
There wasn’t a day that went by that after listening to his show you weren’t left thinking about something that he had mentioned in his show.
His regular callers were as diverse as the population of the great city that we live and work in,with the likes of Kevin “I couldn’t care less” from Croydon, Lyn “I’m a deep thinker” from Forest Gate, George from Camden (who isn’t called George & isn’t from Camden) and Colin & Steve the cake men, getting us calling in and joining in with the show. Our show is what BG called it,always saying that if it wasn’t for us there wouldn’t be a show and he was right but he was the conduit. If it wasn’t for him though we would have been listening to other stations,I changed from radio 2,so the plaudits must remain with him.
I arrived about 1.25 ish and had to hunt around to find a place to park. I found a place a little bit along Langham place then walked back up to the church where there was already a small crowd gathered. Amongst them there was Cuban Tony with his unmistakable Fairway parked nearby. BBC radio London had their radio car there and were conducting interviews with the assembled crowd.
As time went on I bumped into a couple of people that I had met before,Cabby David amongst them, and slowly the crowd grew and grew. As time went on I found a space near the top of the steps facing the Langham hotel and watched as the whole of the steps and surrounding pavement filled with listeners comming to pay their respects to Big George. All around me all I could hear was other voices,some of which I recognised as callers to the show,asking their neighbours who they were and whether they were caller or silent listeners. A lot of us were trying to see if we could spot some of the regular callers,in fact I think the question I heard the most was “is Kevin from Croydon here?”
As time went on there was not a space to be had on the church steps and the crowd spilled onto the pavement and eventually onto the road itself,at one stage there were so many people standing in the road that the traffic came to a standstill southbound as a bus tried to edge past. I found myself standing with a lady cabby,who was carrying the biggest candle that I have ever seen, and the afore mentioned George from Camden.
Down on the pavement the crowd was milling around the organiser of the event, John Kennedy, who said a few words about BG and then led us in a minutes silence then into the most out of tune but also the most beautiful version of Louis Armstrongs “Wonderful World” I have ever heard!
When it was over there was a round of applause followed by 3 cheers for Big George. Then little by little people started to drift away with some stopping to greet JoAnne Good, BG’s partner,on the way.
I left soon after and went back to work,after dropping George from Camden off home and no I didn’t drop him in Camden lol
But the main reason for writing this piece is to say a big thank you to John Kennedy for oganising this celebration.
I have not always agreed with everything that John Kennedy says and does but I was proud to be part of this celebration of Georges life which was his brainwave.
Well done John,it takes a big man to stand out in front of a crowd of strangers and talk ,sometimes emotionally,about a lost friend. I applaud you and I’m sure I speak for a lot of the people there who would like to have said well done but didn’t get the chance. So Cheers fella,top job I’m sure Big George would have loved it, either that of he would have given you a punch up the bracket!
PS I’m sorry that I didn’t post any pics of the gathering,but I left my camera in the cab DOH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Cheers I’ll be back soon with more from the world of Del Boy
Video and pictures courtesy of Stormcab